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Getting the most out of your EV’s range
Nowhere is the relationship between your right foot and vehicle efficiency more obvious than in an electric car. With the amount of range available to you constantly in view, the way you drive visually displays the drop in range and can have a dramatic impact on the ability of your vehicle to reach its destination – or require an energy top-up.
Long motorway journeys and hard acceleration will see the range on your electric car drop more quickly than on slower A roads. Other factors can have an effect on your range too, especially the weather: rain, sun, or the cold. Essentially, anything that puts a drain on the battery will affect your car’s range, ranging from the heated front seats to the air conditioning system.
There are little tricks to help overcome some of the effects of weather on car range. If it’s particularly hot or cold, then it’s best to use the pre-conditioning function available on most EVs. The pre-conditioning function enables you to raise or lower the temperature inside the car while it’s still charging, using the electrical energy from the mains rather than the car’s own battery. This is particularly useful on very cold mornings when your vehicle is plugged into your home charger – you’ll enjoy stepping into a pre-heated car with no requirement to scrape the frost off the windows.
So what’s the best way to extend the range of an EV?
EVs have a number of driving mode options that change the driving characteristics of the vehicle. Sport, as you might expect, ups the tempo and responsiveness of the car; normal is a comfortable everyday driving mode; while an Eco option places the emphasis on energy preservation.
Choosing the Eco mode is certainly the best way to ‘stretch’ the battery range of your car the furthest. But choosing this mode means you will find the throttle feels dampened and often those power-consuming features – such as the air conditioning – are switched off.
But the Eco mode is your sure-fire answer to get the most out of your battery, particularly if you are getting low on range towards the end of your journey.
The other way to assist the car’s range is to drive as smoothly as possible, use the regenerative braking feature to put more energy back into the battery and lower your speed. Put all of these together and you will be surprised at how much energy conservation is possible.
While some of this might seem overly complicated to non-EV drivers, or those considering going electric, it’s surprising how easy it becomes to work these features and adapt your driving style to suit.
Finally, should you find yourself not quite in reach of an emergency charge and the battery depleted, most electric cars will switch to a ‘limp home’ mode. In this state performance is severely restricted to enable you to travel as far as possible on what is left in the battery – or get you to a place that is safe to stop and the emergency services can be contacted. While not advisable to reach this point, it is helpful to know.
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